NTSB Issues Report on Incident involving Iron Maiden

by | Jun 23, 2021 | Maritime Law

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its investigative report on the April 16, 2020 fire on the dive support vessel Iron Maiden while at the Allied Shipyard in Larose, Louisiana.  The total damage to the vessel caused by the incident was in excess of $900,000.

The NTSB’s report explains:

On April 16, at 0110, the Lafourche Parish Fire District dispatcher received a phone call from the Larose Bridge tender (located roughly 2,000 feet from the shipyard) reporting smoke and flames coming from a vessel at the shipyard. The first fire trucks arrived at the shipyard at 0118, and firefighters discovered smoke coming from the starboard side of the Iron Maiden’s pilothouse. The fire extended from the main deck up to the pilothouse, encompassing the generator room and the living spaces on the forecastle deck. The responding firefighters boarded the vessel and fought the fire with water hoses. At 0225, the fire was extinguished with no injuries. About 0900, shipyard personnel found an area still emitting smoke behind the fuel tank on the starboard side of the generator room, but it was “dug up” by shipyard personnel and quickly extinguished with water from a garden hose.

Before the fire, Allied Shipyard workers had performed hot work on the vessel.  The NTSB determined that based on the location where this occurred, it was not the source of the fire:

Based on the location of the hot work and the initial location of the fire within the generator room (as determined by the LaFourche Parish Fire District investigator’s report), the hot work conducted on board the vessel was not the source of the fire.

The report ultimately found that the likely source of the fire was an electrical short from an unidentified source located on the forward bulkhead within the generator room.

The NTSB reminded vessel owners and operators regarding the need to continuously monitor unoccupied vessels:

Fire and flooding are risks for both crewed and unattended vessels. To protect personnel, property, and the environment, it is good marine practice for owners, operators, and shipyard managers to coordinate and implement some form of continuous monitoring for vessels undergoing maintenance in a shipyard, in lay-up, or in some other inactive period without regular crews aboard. Continuous monitoring can consist of scheduled security rounds and/or active monitoring with sensing and alarm systems.

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